Often likened to Viktor & Rolf on acid and a classically trained concert pianist (“that was my biggest interest till I was 18”), Karolina Kling looks back at her first moment in fashion. “I wanted to show the world what I was doing; I wanted to reach everyone”, she explains. “You just want to get on and be creative and do all these amazing things.” Since establishing her label KLING by KLING in 2006, the London based Swede has made a name for herself through distinct prints and playful designs.
“I shouldn’t say this, but I’m wearing Topshop, American Apparel, second hand and...some more second hand,” laughs the 27 year old in a romantically Swedish accent. “Where did Kling go? I’ll, put it on tomorrow, I can´t wear it every day!” Inspired by anything from viruses to clowns, Kling’s designs have transformed from hooded, oversized unisex clothing to carefully shaped garments. “I try to create the pieces from a personality and a feeling, a special moment in time or just out of curiosity how it would feel like wearing it” she explains of the working process.
Karolina’s passion for prints have seen her praised by an industry happy to see someone doing something different; with experience in scenography, costume design and more recently, a space at London Fashion Week to show for it. Her autumn/winter 09 collection shows how the clothes are a blank canvas for the designer’s signature graphics. “The clown patterns are inspired from the stress going on behind the curtains of the circus, or behind the curtains of public exposal,” Karolina explains.
Quirky plaited turbans and drawn on moustaches mixed with bed-time look leggings, stripy shirts and draped scarves give the collection a peculiar ‘circus inspired’ edge. Even today, with four of her collections being distributed worldwide, Karolina questions her own ability to produce the goods. “You constantly ask yourself; how is this even gonna happen? I didn´t know that the show would come together,” she continues. “The first time I saw everything it just blew me away. I was like; “is this my show?!””
The Gothenburg graduate says of her ideal customer, “it’s more about the energy I want people to have when they wear them.” She claims, if not a little uncertainly, “after all it all goes inwards before it goes out - are you with me?” Such principles have seen the brunette Swede brush shoulders and collaborate with the likes of Reebok, Nudie Jeans and H&M, an experience she wouldn’t be opposed to repeating. “I would love to do more shoe and home interior colabs,” she explains. “That’s my next plan”.
As for the future of her own label, she sees no boundaries in what she can achieve. A catwalk in Hyére, a “tour around the world with installations and special edition product collections” and a line of different collaborations are in her sights. Karolina is a fascinating emerging talent within fashion, a print force to be reckoned with. “One day I’m gonna have that big black grand piano in the middle of the living room wooden floor....”